Saturday, September 21, 2013

Painting of the Day: The Portrait of Zoe Ionides, 1881

Zoe Ionides
George Frederick Watts, 1881
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Here we see a half-length, nearly full face portrait of a little girl with her hands hanging by her sides. She wears a red hat, a dark maroon dress, and a fur around her neck. This painting by George Frederick Watts was bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1900. However, Mr. Ionides stipulated in his will that this, along with nineteen other family portraits, should stay in the family until the death of his wife, Agathonike. Mrs. Ionides died in 1920 when the paintings were received by the V&A.

The portrait shows Zoe Ionides (1877- 1973) who was the seventh of eight children of Constantine Alexander Ionides and his wife, Agathonike. George Frederick Watts, a life-long friend of Constantine, painted over fifty members of the Ionides family over five generations. Watts had studied under the sculptor William Behnes and entered the R.A schools in 1835. He went to Florence until 1847, where he found the patronage of Lady Holland. The painter was determined to devote himself to depicting grand, universal themes such as Faith; Hope; Charity; Love and Life; and Love and Death. However, he is best remembered as a portrait painter.

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